On the weekend with one of the biggest openings of all time, it would make sense to review the film everyone is talking about:
Michael Bay and is trash factory of a production company, Platinum Dunes bring us a found footage (for some reason) time travel thriller about teens who create a time travel device. Sitting on the shelf for about a year, and knowing the "talent" behind the film, one begins to wonder if this film is as terrible as the signs point to, or could this be a diamond in the rough. The answer: neither.
It's no DeLorean, that's for sure.
In 2014, David Raskin (Jonny Weston) has just been accepted to MIT with only a partial scholarship. Not able to afford to the remaining balance for tuition, David resorts to trying to get a scholarship by providing an invention. While rummaging through his dead father's science experiments, (naturally) David and his sister, Chris (Virginia Gardner) and their 2 friends: Quinn (Sam Lerner) and Adam (Allen Evangelista) stumble across plans for a time travel device.
With Chris recording everything (because, why not?) David and his friends take the plans and find a way to make the machine work. Aided by Jessie, (Sofia Black D'Ella) another student and a girl that catches David's eye, the friends are able to travel back in time. Initially making a pact to only travel back in time together, David does not heed the warnings and begins to mess with the time travel device.
"This isn't like 'Back to the Future'. Hell, it's not even like 'The Butterfly Effect'.
Following the usual tropes of time travel films, the idea of holding the power of time travel in your hands is too great to bear. The characters in the film use the machine to travel back in time to win the lottery, go to concerts and make certain decisions right. Though, by changing the past, consequences of what they have changed affect what goes on back in the present time. Upon returning to the present, the friends discover that their changes have negatively impacted their present time and must find a way to right their wrongs.
As is typical with most time travel movies, the film cannot bear the weight of the paradoxes that the script puts the characters into. Taking a much longer time than usual for setting up the film, the first half is not awful in watching the, mostly likable, characters come together and build the time machine together. Once the time travel begins, though, the film slogs through endless sequences of David and company changing their lives in various ways.
The cast realizing their paychecks come from Michael Bay.
The changing of the lives comes off as boring and overly long, before we finally reach them realizing that they have changed their present-day lives. Their actions and the negative consequences, though, never really feel threatening to the story; especially when the characters know how to fix their mistakes and follow through with the plan. Project Almanac plays it way too safe and that hurts a film that wants to be a different type of time travel film.
I'm a sucker for time travel films, yet Project Almanac fails overall in the story it tries to tell. Stick with 'Primer', instead.
A PG-13 version of 'There's Something About Mary'.